Articles > Treatments/ Masks > Clarifying Vs. Chelating: What You Need To Know
Last updated: November 22, 2022

Clarifying Vs. Chelating: What You Need To Know

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Photo Credit: Instagram via @olaplex

3 Differences Between Clarifying & Chelating

We’ve been seeing chelating treatments popping up EVERYWHERE, including the OLAPLEX Broad Spectrum Chelating Treatment. While we’re all about the promise of hair that looks and feels amazing, how does this treatment work—and how is it different than the clarifying treatments we’ve been using? Keep scrolling to find out.


Clarifying vs. chelating: What’s the difference?

Think of it this way: While clarifying shampoos optimize the results of your hair repair routine, chelating is a PRO-ONLY treatment that elevates the efficiency and final results of all salon services. Here are some of the benefits:


  1. Removal of discoloring minerals and buildup
  2. More consistent lightening in less time
  3. Better penetration of lightener and color
  4. No mixing or heat required


So, when should you clarify vs. chelate your client’s hair? We’re breaking down the specifics below, so keep reading.


Celeb colorist Chad Kenyon (@chadkenyon) introduces his clients to chelating!

Photo Credit: Instagram via @chadkenyon


1. OLAPLEX Broad Spectrum Chelating Treatment takes clarifying treatments to the next level.

Chelating treatments are designed to remove cortex-deep deposits, which can hinder your client’s color goals and the effectiveness of color, lightener and other services. Chelation works to rebuild hair simultaneously while gently removing up to 98 percent of impurities and buildup after just one use.


Here’s how it’s done:


  1. Cleanse the hair with OLAPLEX No.4C Clarifying Shampoo for a clean canvas. Rinse thoroughly.
  2. Apply Broad Spectrum Chelating Treatment in sections to fully saturate the hair. Leave on for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the hair texture and amount of buildup. 
  3. Shampoo with OLAPLEX No.4 Bond Maintenance® Shampoo.
  4. Condition with OLAPLEX 4-IN-1 Moisture Mask.
  5. Voilayou have the perfect canvas to continue with your salon services!


OLAPLEX artist Carlos Rojas (@colorbycarlos) teaches us how to pronounce “chelating!” 😂

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A post shared by Cosmo Prof Beauty (@cosmoprofbeauty)


Want to try it for yourself! Click here to try chelating.


2. Clarifying shampoo actually preps the hair for chelation.

So, does chelating replace clarifying? Short answer: No. Deep cleansing clarifying shampoos provide a clean canvas for chelation, while chelating is a PRO ONLY treatment that goes a step further for cortex-deep purification.


Chelating is celeb stylist Tracey Cunningham (@traceycunningham1)‘s new favorite step. “When my client comes back in with {a} dull blonde I know was poppin’ the last time she left my chair, I KNOW she has bad metal or mineral buildup,” she says.


Tell your clients: “There’s nothing wrong with seeing your colorist in between appointments for a little maintenance or using OLAPLEX No.4C at home—and yes it’s sulphate free,” says Tracey.


Watch Tracey apply OLAPLEX’s chelating treatment. Apply to damp hair after shampooing with No.4c for optimal results!

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A post shared by Tracey Cunningham (@traceycunningham1)


3. Chelating is more of a “prescription” treatment.

Clarifying shampoos can be used on a weekly basis for a thorough cleanse with a fresh, airy result. Chelating, however, is best for clients with moderate to severe build-up. We’re talking enough build-up to compromise their lightening or color results.


Interested in bringing OLAPLEX’s chelating treatment to your salon? Click here.


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